Thursday, 22 October 2009

O for the garden wall

Have I mentioned this? - I know I've said it to Dave - I've suggested to the Sage that the chickens might like to spend the winter in the kitchen garden. I think they'd love it. Of course, the bits that aren't walled will have to have netting put up, and I've got some vegetables that'll have to be protected, but they can sleep in the biggest greenhouse and we can go and chat to them and feed them little treats. Chris the snail will have to make sure he stays well up on the wall though, or he might meet an untimely end.

There will be some tidying up done in there by the spring - the good thing is, of course, that if we do some digging it'll make the bantams very happy as they will have lovely insects and worms to eat. Some years ago, we (rather too quickly) dug new beds for fruit, put in bushes and paths and a fruit cage. After a couple of years, it became apparent that we hadn't cleared the area well enough, we hadn't allowed enough room for the bushes to grow and it was getting too much for us. For the last couple of years we've almost abandoned it. Now, we think the only thing to do is to prune the currants severely and move them, giving more room to the raspberries and gooseberries. While we're about it, we've having the asparagus bed dug up.

It's not that I want to stop growing asparagus, of course. But the plants have been in over 20 years and they are on their way out. I did put in some more crowns about five years ago but it was a dry season and although I watered them, they have never come to much. I'm going to have to decide whether to move them and give them another chance or dig them up too and start again completely. In any case, they aren't enough. Again, some perennial weeds have become established in the bed and I think the only thing to do is clear the bed and carpet it for a season to clear it, then manure it heavily, plant potatoes for a season and so get it thoroughly fertilised and dug.

For the rest of the garden, I've still got to keep it easy. Next summer we'll still be bricklaying and I'll probably be contemplating an operation (unless things don't go well, in which case I'll be recovering from one) - either way, I don't want a lot of gardening. So it'll be squashes, tomatoes, beans, that sort of thing again - stuff that will cover the ground, be easy to pick and quite undemanding. I will grow lots of plants from seed because I enjoy that, but mostly for Al to sell.

What I can do, though, is think about planting the bed next to the wall...the section of the wall that will have been completed, that is. Not the side that the bricks are stacked, which will be a flower bed, but the narrower bed the other side. It will face East, mind you, but be sheltered from the North and get light from both East and South. The final piece of wall will face South. The bed is only about 3 foot 6 inches wide and, of course, it will have the problem of dryness that you'd expect, but it will be quite warm and sheltered there. Some cordon or espalier fruit trees might be possible - we've got room elsewhere for good-sized apple trees (most of our apple trees are elderly and we've got plans to plant more) - I'm tempted by the thought of peaches and apricots but maybe pears would be safer on that side - any ideas? Also, I want to put in some flowers, particularly ones that will attract bees. This will be a secluded spot once the wall is finished and I think I might hide myself away there quite often.

28 comments:

Four Dinners said...

Plant anything that grows babe. It's all nature and therefore beautiful

Dandelion said...

Z! Your picture! I feel like zerlina is there out of shot.

I'm still struggling with my strawbs. They won't stop shooting out.

Christopher said...

Much enjoying your alphabet, an ingenious reworking of A for 'orses, B for mutton, C for miles, etc.

Would nectarines be more resilient than peaches?

Blue Witch said...

The hens would love it, so would the soil.

Gardeners' World were planting a peach (or maybe it was an apricot?) trees on an east-facing wall recently. They then rigged up a fleece cover that had Mr BW and I laughing our heads off at its poor conception, design and manufacture. There was no way in a million years it would ever roll up as they intended it to. That programme gets worse and worse...

For such situations, plant newer varieties is my tip.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/fruitandvegetables/3349566/Gardening-Growing-fruit-in-Britain.html

Dave said...

A nice bench is what you want.

Z said...

4D, I never took you for a hippy. Peace and love, babe.

Zerlina is there out of shot. There are no baby pictures of me. I could go back to the eye, but there are an awful lot of eye photos about now and it's disconcerting.

Dave suggested 'elementary' which was very neat. At least the Z will be easy.
Peaches do grow out of doors here, Christopher, someone brought dozens in to Al's shop this autumn, but nectarines may well be better, thanks. And thank you for the link, BW. I'll look it up.

I wonder where Dave is. Better go and look for him.

Z said...

Oh, there you are, Dave. I was starting to worry. I'll need a bench for my potting shed.

Dave said...

Hmm. Something to muse on, that a bench is both a seat and a table.

And a collection of judiciary.

Z said...

And a mark.

Z said...

Oh, strawbs, Dand. I think you can just cut off runners if you get more than you want.

Dave said...

I do hope tomorrow's post-title has nothing to do with the kidneys.

Sarah said...

I think Peregrine Peach (also my No 2's name incidentlly!) is a variety that does well in this country, not that I have grown it myself.....
Oh I love the look of espaliers on a wall, so pretty.

Dave said...

You called your child Peach? Copying Bob Geldorf I expect.

Z said...

It should be P for Peregrine I think, in honour of Sarah's good-looking young man (if he's the one whose photo was on her late blog). "Going for a P, Bob" is a phrase whose lustre is lost since His Holderness has vanished from our screens, so you need not be disappointed, Dave.

Sorry to bewilder anyone from abroad.

You're also correct in referring to 'tomorrow's' post, Dave. Just back from our auction, drinking a toast to a successful sale, family all around - blog has to wait, I'm afraid. I don't often miss a day, after all...

Roses said...

It sounds wonderful. I love the thought of you digging a bed with your bantams scurrying about looking for worms and snails.

I'm really looking forward to the Wall Party.

Dave said...

It's well into tomorrow now.

*twiddles thumbs*

Z said...

It's very Good Life around here!

Dave, I'm touched.

Ad said...

You do make it sound easy, Z.

As for the bees, I did hear they are attracted to blue and/or purple flowers in the colour spectrum.

Z said...

I do, don't I? Don't worry, it'll all be done with more enthusiasm than skill and it'll be no time before I'm wailing that I haven't got time for any of it. Nevertheless, most of it will happen somehow.

You don't actually need to read this blog, do you? You all know what's going to happen. If I ever start yet another blog, I think I shall call it Soap Flakes.

And sorry darlings, the Sage is going to take me out this afternoon, after a morning of work and being with the family. So I still haven't time to write a post.

Dave said...

Oh well, I expect there will be an extra-special post tomorrow.

Z said...

There will be a pretty damn fine one today, Dave. Just not yet.

sablonneuse said...

I still haven't got over reading that you have a pet snail called Chris . . . . . .

Z said...

That's the one whose picture was taken on Tuesday.

Sandy would also be a good name for a snail.

Dave said...

I wrote a long and convoluted comment about the consequences of naming a sheep after your husband (I believe it's still a crime) but it was deleted accidentally.

martina said...

A nice wooden bench, with a bit of a back and some pillows, so you can rest and admire the garden. Butterfly bush to attract bees? Perfect.

Z said...

Sheep rustling is indeed a crime, Dave.

I bought a postcard for you in London, Martina, but I haven't sent it yet in case it languishes at the bottom of a postman's sack during our strike. Hope to send it soon.

Sarah said...

Oh yes P for Peregrine...he would like that.
I'm glad you have had a nice couple of days 'off'. You will have plenty to tell us tomorrow then!
Did Roses mention that party again? I've had my posh frock out for ages.

luckyzmom said...

I miss the spot I created in our previous home; a cozy bench under an Italian prune tree. I spent countless hours there with a cup of coffee and a book or just watching the progression from bare branches through ripe fruit. Your garden plans sound lovely.